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Aid workers evacuate a family from a neighborhood in Kherson: 700,000 need drinking water supplies

Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka / dpa

The consequences of the dam destruction

The UN sees a worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine in view of the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths told the AP news agency that the humanitarian situation was "far worse" than before the floods in the Kherson region. 700,000 people needed drinking water supplies. The devastation would inevitably lead to lower grain exports, higher food prices around the world, and less food for millions of people in need. Ukraine is one of the largest grain exporters in the world.

"This is a viral problem," Griffiths said, "but the truth is that we are only at the beginning when we see the consequences of this act." Griffiths said the UN had reached 30,000 people in the flooded areas under Ukrainian control. Russia has so far not granted the United Nations access to the areas under its control to help the flood victims.

Griffiths said he met with Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, on Wednesday to allow access to the areas. "We are giving them details at this moment so that Moscow can hopefully make a positive decision," he said. "I hope it will succeed."

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports problems at the cooling pond of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The pressure on the dike around the pond is increasing on the inside, as the level of the dammed river has fallen sharply on the outside, the IAEA reported. The nuclear agency is monitoring the situation closely. Europe's largest nuclear power plant is not threatened in the short term, but the destruction of the Kakhovka dam and increasing military activity are causing "significant new difficulties," according to IAEA chief Rafael Grossi.

The Kakhovka Dam on the Dnieper River, located in Russian-occupied territory, was destroyed on Tuesday night, causing large amounts of water to leak out. Thousands of people had to leave their homes. Kiev and Moscow accuse each other of being responsible for the incident.

This is what Kiev says

The Ukrainian counteroffensive is apparently now underway. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky now spoke of "particularly difficult battles". He held a meeting with the High Command of Ukraine on Friday, Zelensky said in his evening video address. "We focus our attention on all directions where our actions are needed and where the enemy can suffer defeat," he said. It was about "our defensive actions, our offensive actions, our gains on the front lines." Then Zelensky thanked all the soldiers "who are in particularly difficult battles these days".

This is what Moscow says

Russian President Vladimir Putin is building up a threatening backdrop with nuclear weapons. He announced his intention to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus from July. On July 7 and 8, preparations at the relevant facilities would be completed, Putin said, according to the state news agency Tass, after a meeting with Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. Then the laying will begin. Everything is on schedule. This would mean that the deployment would begin just before the NATO summit in Lithuania, a neighboring country of Belarus. The summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius will take place on 11 and 12 July.

Putin had already announced on March 25 that he would transfer Russian nuclear weapons to the allied ex-Soviet republic of Belarus. He also justified the announced stationing of the weapons with the fact that the United States had been holding nuclear weapons in Europe, including Germany, for years. The West had strongly criticized the plans.

German weapons

The head of the German arms company Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, has acknowledged losses of German-supplied weapons in Ukraine. When asked why we hear so little about the losses of German weapons systems, he replied to the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND): "Because they don't talk about it." When asked if there were losses, Papperger replied: "There are always losses in life." In principle, the weapons systems developed and produced in Germany have proven themselves in Ukraine. According to him, the feedback from Ukrainians is positive.

What's next?

According to the United States, Russia plans to build a drone factory with Iranian help. "This factory could be fully operational early next year," said US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby: "The Russian-Iranian military partnership appears to be deepening." Russia has already received hundreds of drones from Iran. So far, these have been built in Iran and then delivered to Russia via the Caspian Sea.